The Great Debate UK

Brooks Newmark drops a debt bombshell

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Brooks NewmarkBritain’s national debt is far higher than Prime Minister Gordon Brown is willing to acknowledge, Conservative MP Brooks Newmark argues in a new paper published by the Centre for Policy Studies.

The true level of government debt is not 805 billion pounds as currently reported by the Office for National Statistics, Newmark says, calling for an independent audit of the government’s books.

“The lax control of public money over the last decade has created a catastrophic level of debt, now equivalent to 2.2 trillion pounds – or 157.2 percent of gross domestic product,” he writes. “This is an increase of 346 billion pounds since last year, when the true level of government debt was 1.85 trillion pounds (or 126.9 percent of GDP).

Newmark, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, discussed “The Hidden Debt Bombshell” with Reuters:

Is the general election all over bar the shouting?

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justin_fisher-Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-

With the election now just under seven months away, the starting guns for the campaign were fired at the party conferences. This general election looks like the most eagerly awaited since 1997, and could lead for some significant changes for each of the three largest parties.

One cheer for Darling’s reforms

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REUTERS– Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

Chancellor Alastair Darling has ignored the first rule of holes: if you’re in one, stop digging. He could have produced a few motherhood-and-apple pie reforms of the banking system, to give the impression of activity. Instead, he has dug in, proposing an upgrade of Britain’s failed “tripartite” system of regulation.

from UK News:

Financial regulation plan: white paper or white flag?

Chancellor Alistair Darling set out new plans to strengthen regulation of financial markets on Wednesday. The white paper proposes enforcing higher levels of capital for banks and increasing liquidity to prevent a re-run of the credit crunch.

Darling wants banking pay packages to be policed and for a new Council for Financial Stability to bring together the work of the Bank of England, Financial Services Authority and the Treasury.

Why election results matter to parties’ grassroots

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justin_fisherJustin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The elections this Thursday are widely expected to be bad for Labour. And depending upon which poll you believe, they may not be brilliant for the Conservatives. But a familiar call will emerge nevertheless – that a loss of seats, particularly at local council level, will lead to a further decline in that party’s grassroots. This reality is, however, a bit more complex.

Put your questions to David Cameron

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(UPDATED Dec 18 – This post is now closed for questions)

Conservative Party leader David Cameron will be speaking on the economy and the credit crunch at Thomson Reuters’ Canary Wharf office on Monday, followed by a question and answer session.

The Tory leader has argued that two main problems face Britain at present – a recession coupled with a record level of government debt, and that the government is trying to tackle one while ignoring the other.

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